I have a bit of a conundrum here, as March Fourth Marching Band last Thursday night at The Rilato was probably my second favorite Tucson live show of 2012 (the favorite being Wilco at TCC, which I blogged about several months ago), yet Pima County Public Library has no music by this Portland, Oregon based 20-piece band, and none is to be found at Freegal. However, In the library spirit of disseminating information, I decided to go ahead and review the show here, despite your inability to actually access any of their music through our library. Hopefully you will remember this glorious review (following the break) when the band returns to town in the future, and you will go and see/hear them for yourself.
I had a good feeling about the night's entertainment the moment the band took the stage. Not only were there like 8 horn players, 5 percussionists, bass and guitar, there were no less than 2, and sometimes 4 dancers on stilts, tall stilts on stage dancing vehemently the entire evening. The band opts for sort of a grungey marching band fashion style, which, in combination with the acrobatic stilt dancers, give something of a circus-like energy to the proceedings. The energy was high throughout the performance. It would have been extraordinarily difficult not to both dance and smile one's way through this party-like atmosphere.
Often when a band has so many musicians, only a few of them seem to be working hard, while many of the members are sort of slacking, looking not entirely sure what to do onstage until it is their turn to be spotlighted. This was not the case with the March Fourth Marching Band, all twenty members seemed to be steadily contributing at all times. Even as one performer (usually one of the horns) took center stage to solo, the rest of the members were engaged and working. With that many people playing, somebody is going to be on point at any given time, and in the case of this band, it was often more than one person that was on point at any given time.
The music was upbeat and jazzy. There were not many numbers which had lyrics. To be honest, I had planned on taking a bunch more notes at the show, but I, just like everybody else in attendance, was way too busy dancing to stop and take notes! This was the band's second appearance at The Rialto since I moved here 15 months ago, I am not sure if this means they will not be back anytime soon, or if this means they are regulars. Hopefully the latter.